As the host or bride and groom of a wedding, we do all that we can to make our guests welcome and comfortable. As a wedding guest, here are some things we can do to extend the hospitality towards our hosts:
- RSVP immediately. As soon as you get the invitation, ideally. Especially if you cannot attend – this will allow the hosts to possibly expand their guest list with plenty of time to send an invitation properly. If the response card asks for entree selection, be sure to fill it in, and why not add a quick message to the back of the card – let the couple know how excited you are to be a part of their wedding day. It’s so much fun to receive the RSVPs in the mail, and your bonus message will be a delight for the bride and groom.
- Arrive early. Expect there may be traffic and that parking might be atrocious, and still plan to be at the wedding ceremony at least 15 minutes earlier than stated on the invitation. It’s becoming more common to state a time on the invitation that differs from the planned start time to be sure everyone has arrived, but if the ceremony takes place in a church, that buffer time may not be available. So don’t just be on time, be early.
- Send your gift in advance. Every bridal registry that I know of will send the gifts directly to the couple, and in doing so, you eliminate the need to bring something with you and the need for the bride and groom to haul something home. A lot of “somethings” as the case most certainly will be. Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of knowing the gift arrived (or can track it if it gets lost in transit.)
- Sit where you are assigned to sit. The couple and families spent many hours fine tuning who will set where and to disregard their careful planning is not only disrespectful to the hosts, but may also create some adjusting for the catering staff who were told in advance how many people (and perhaps entree choices) were at each table.
- Participate. If there is a guest book to sign, please do! If well wishes are requested, take the time to sincerely offer advice. If there is a photo booth with pros available, it is your duty as a considerate wedding guest to don a boa and sombrero and say “cheese!” If the bride is out on the dance floor with the kids and no one is joining her, be the first to do so and start a trend.
- And then there is the bar… This is a celebration, so celebrate! But know when enough is enough. The last memory anyone will want of this wedding is how sloshed or sick one got during the reception. Don’t pull focus from the couple – the spot light is on them and it’s your just as the guest to stand by and applaud.
- Respect their space. There will be many people who want time with the couple, so take your turn and try not to monopolize their attention. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to the rest of families (if you don’t already know them) and express your joy in attending this wonderful occasion.